Civil Society Organisations(CSOs) have said there is a need for a holistic recovery program for the victims of the Northern Uganda war especially women.
The Lord’s Resistance Army led by Joseph Kony waged war on northern Uganda for more than two decades, leading to death of thousands of people whereas women were raped and others including children defiled and abducted.
Speaking on Thursday the national dialogue on the implementation of the transitional justice policy in Northern Uganda, Stella Lanam, a victim of the war but also the founder for War Victims and Children Networking said whereas the war seems to have ended, there are after-effects on the victims.
“Most of the victims were thrown off their family land after the death of their parents or brothers and sisters during the way. In other cases, the land is sold leaving the victims landless. It is very difficult to accept the victims into the community,”Lanam said.
According to Xavier Ejoyi, the Country Director for Action Aid, whereas government has looked at recovery of Northern Uganda in terms of only infrastructure, a key aspect of the wellbeing of the victims of the war has been ignored .
“There are still a number of issues like land disputes and mental health. The rate of suicide is high in Northern Uganda, especially among victims of the war and many other post-traumatic disorders that government has not taken interest into,”Ejoyi said.
“When the violence ended, the issues affecting people sprout. There are many after-effects of the war across northern Uganda districts of Gulu, Pader and Kitgum.”
He noted that instead of focusing on only the rehabilitation of infrastructure like schools, hospitals and roads destroyed during the war, there is need for a holistic approach by looking into effects of the war on people’s lives.
“Whereas infrastructure development is good, how is the mental state of the people? How are the communities relating with each other between the families of the perpetrators and the families of victims and survivors? The question of reconciliation should be looked into.”
Ejoyi noted that there is a need to evaluate the process of reconciliation between families in northern Uganda after the Kony war but also rehabilitation process for the victims.
The Leader of Opposition in Parliament Betty Aol Ochan said whereas the war happened, it affected mostly women and children, adding that many of them are still suffering.
“Many of the victims who were girls then have matured into women and are struggling with life. Many have not been easily accepted in their own families and those of their husbands. The women have many other challenges, which is not necessarily the case with men,” Ochan said.
“Women, youths and people with disabilities and are victims of the war should be prioritized. There is a need to address the aftermath of the war holistically.”